My awesome roommate

I recently met this cool guy because we live in the same place. Though he’s not that nerdy (by that, I mean super mathy), we still share many common interests. For instance, he expressed interest when I told him a bit about 艾思奇(Ai Siqi). Additionally, he told me about his appreciation for André Weil and Simone Weil, particularly her mysticism, which I found quite pleasing as I was reading about them not long ago. He also told me about this guy who is trying to understand Mochizuki’s “proof” of the abc conjecture despite being not long out of undergrad, who has plenty of other quirks and eccentric behaviors. Like, that guy joined some Marxist collective, and goes on drunken rants at 3 am, and is in general “aspie af,” something that he described me as too when messaging that guy himself. There is also: “he would literally kill himself if he had to do a tech job.” (laughter) That guy’s dad happens to be a (tenured) math professor from mainland China, more evidence that madness runs in families.

The guy that is the topic of this post himself did up to high school, as far as I know, in Hong Kong, so we have some more in common than usual culturally I guess. He was just telling me about how he had read 矛盾论, which I haven’t even read, at least not in detail, myself. He was saying, on the putative connection between scientific talent and Marxism, perhaps how dialectical materialism is inherently a very scientific way of thinking. I myself know basically nothing about dialectical materialism and even think it’s kind of high verbal low math bullshit, but I can tell that the materialist side of it is very scientific in its very nature, and similarly, dialectics is a very analogies/relationships way of thinking, which is something that high IQ people are by definition good at. Surely, there is much more I can learn from this guy, especially about Chinese language and culture and politics.

On this, I am reminded of another amateur (but professional, or better, level for sure) Marxist scholar, who is genuinely encyclopedic in his historical and cultural knowledge, in particularly a perceptive quote of him that made a deep impression on me:

Europe has always been in rebellion against itself, and continues to be so.  There was nothing but futility in the attempt by superficially Westernised Chinese to be authentically Westernised Chinese by being imitative and reverential of the current embodiment of those values.  You could only be an authentically Westernised Chinese by being a rebel against the current embodiments of Western values, at least in as far as they hampered China or seemed to be irrelevant.  And that’s why Mao was China’s best Westerniser to date, despite his very limited experience of the mundanities of Western life.

As I’ll detail in a future article, visitors to the Chinese Communist bases at Bao’an and later Yen’an noticed that these were the only Chinese in China who behaved more or less as Westerners would have behaved in a similar situation.  Other Chinese might speak good English, wear Western suits and sometimes show considerable knowledge of Western culture: but it was all imitation and the inner core was different and ineffective.  Western-trained engineers and geologists who returned to China kept their distance from hands-on practical work, because anything resembling manual labour would have lost them status in the eyes of Chinese intellectuals.  They were imprisoned by a tradition stretching back to Confucius and beyond.  Only a few broke these ancient taboos, mostly the Communists and some scattered left-wingers in the weak middle ground.  And it was the modernised Chinese in the Communist Party who chose to raise up Mao as the prime teacher of this new understanding.

I remember when my obsessively talented Russian friend once said to me that sometimes he feels like he’s another Pavel Korchagin, I thought he was ridiculous. Well, I’ll be equally ridiculous and say that I feel like I very much exhibit what Gwydion described in Mao that is “authentically Westernized Chinese,” which is very much the antithesis of what I see in most ABCs, despite being half an ABC myself.

If only more people could be like me…

艾思奇与中庸之道

昨天,我对艾思奇这个人有所探索,稍读了读他的哲学著作,其中有《中庸之道的分析》和《意志自由问题》。先想想艾思奇这个人我是如何得知的。好像是通过读谷超豪的中文维基百科页,其提到谷超豪中学时就组织读马列主义的学生读书会,而艾思奇就是他们所读的作者之一。我可能是稍微搜了搜关于艾思奇的资料,可未对其有任意甚查。谷超豪这种天才级别科学家曾有过对马列主义发生兴趣我想绝对不是偶然的,因为据我所知,马列主义是吸引过太多科学家,数学家,此对马列主义为更先进的社会科学有所隐式。Ron Maimon甚至对我说过科学与马克思主义文化上是本质上不可脱离的,甚至是唇齿相依的。我可以想到一位出了三位大数学教授的兄弟之家庭,父亲竟然是美国共产党在30年至45年的主席,厄尔·白劳德,还可以想到Steve SmaleNeal Koblitz,而这些都是美国人,中国人就更不用说了。

如果将鲁迅为中国革命最代表性文人,那同样可以将艾思奇为中国革命最代表性哲人,他的思想深深影响了一代革命家并且进入了实践,将革命引导以正确的方向。尽管目前自己对思奇同志了解还不多,但至少可以对我已阅过的他所写的《中庸之道的分析》某些内容表达一些我的看法。先说我最中庸之道只有很粗略的了解,对源之之孔子之作也未读过,即使读过它也早已从记忆而消失。我在我博客上早一篇谈到我对儒家没有太正面的看法,觉的他过于保守,扼杀了中华民族的创造力,使得在近代科学已在西方文明萌芽以及突飞猛进时,中国还埋没在落后无知的封建社会,无法脱离跨越儒家对中国社会诸多的恶性制约,直到中国被西方欺负蹂躏到山穷水尽的地步,形势才有所转变。以希腊哲学为基础的西方哲学具有非常之深的理论科学基础所在,而以孔孟之道为基础的东方哲学毫无科学眼光或精神,竞谈一些作人治国这种在我们做高智商的学科的人眼里没有什么实质的话题,可以说它从某种角度而言类似于美国商业文化的那套扯淡,只不过以完全不同的形势和观点。中国人这么聪明选了孔孟之道为社会的指导方针可以说是一种遗憾,幸好对此对过时的地方近代的中国是有所摆脱,已打碎了它大多的绊脚石。我最后想说我觉不是对儒家全盘否定,他有他好的一面,这我就不在这儿谈了。

在此文章,艾思奇主张中庸之道是绝对不利于革命的,是反动的。这一点我觉得毫无解释,中庸温和是无法创造任何奇迹,无法使得中国脱离当时的悲惨处境,也无法让中国在极其落后在内对外形势非常不利的情况下得以最紧要的现代化,其实做出任何不得了的颠覆性的事情都需要特别极端的作为,有这种基因潜力的华人其实不少,但是传统中国文化无法充分的激发它,甚至对它有束缚,某些观念是对跨越式的作为强烈反对的。艾思奇在其文章将甘地的消极抵抗主义化为一种中庸之道式的无效之表,这一点绝对没错。我的极有才华的就读超弦论博士的印度朋友曾经跟我说过他希望印度是有了中国式的暴力革命,而非以非暴力,相对和平的方式使得英国人懒得坚持而离开而解殖谋取(名义上的)独立,原因是这种获取独立的方式未能消除印度诸多好多与殖民直接相连的根深蒂固的痼疾,所以之后虽然印度外表独立可是实质非其也,殖民心态依然保持为坚。西方列强之所有能够跨越大海,掠夺奴役殖民,明显由于他们所发展出的枪炮,这跟毛主席所说的”枪杆里出政权“是一致的,从而不承认强军为胜者都是在犯严重的道德主义谬误。

崇洋媚外也可以被视为一种中庸之道的行为。西方国家和白种人具有的综合性的先进以及先驱地位使得他们的一切被看我默认的权威,这包括他们的政治制度,甚至他们的宗教信仰,而挑战疑问权威本质上就是一种反中庸之道的作为。中庸之道之者不敢做的太离经叛道,或表太不符合广泛被接受而非政治正确之言,难以从自己所在的环境以及教育所潜移默化对此施加的”正确观点“之樊篱得以思想心灵解放。中庸之道之患者难以超越时代超越权威。西方媒体经常说中国缺乏创造性,而中国所开创并坚持的独特的不受过多西方主流影响的经济及政治制度在它一直保持成功蓬勃发展甚至超越的情况下客观上就是伟大的颠覆性的创新,这一点表示在中国共产党领导下的中国已经相当成功的混合了中国传统文化和其所发展积累的新文化,抛弃了中庸之道将不利产生弊病及故障的许多,这是不得了的成就!

还想到近几年,在美国开始生成组织强烈反抗美国名校对亚裔学生的歧视,及不透明的,偏向富贵子弟的而忽略贫困孩子的组织,其显著之一就是赵宇空所领导的美国亚裔教育联盟。此之外,赵宇空不仅是非常成功的大公司经理及领导,还是一位作家,撰写了《华人成功的秘诀》这本书,在此讲说儒家文化传统的优点以及其对华人所带来的好处,有立志,勤学,节俭,顾家,择友为列。没有想到鉴于中庸之道为儒家文化要点之一,在我前段所表示的观点的背景下,却得到矛盾了!(当然,这绝对不是数理逻辑严谨标准的矛盾,体现到哲学是多么主观,多么复杂,多么多元化。)

总而言之,读艾思奇的《中庸之道的分析》给了我丰富的反思从而引发了我又一篇具有(我希望)正确引导思想的文章。盼望有机会多读艾思奇的著作,从而激起更多有深意价值的新思想,新启发!